Did you know According to latest statistics, there are now 4 billion active social media users worldwide. We are spending more time on social media than ever before. With roughly 15% of our waking lives on the social platforms. In Australia, over 80% of the population use social media, with Facebook being the most popular. So, if you are questioning whether social media is for your business, and will it actually help you grow your business? The answer is simple. Hell yes! No more debating required. Now is the time to get posting.
We have an amazing guest interview today, with Ellen Bathgate who started her own rent roll from scratch using social media as one of the pillars of her success. And you’d have to be living under a rock not to know that you have to have your business active on social media these days. Now, we know we have to be there, right? But if you’ve asked yourself, what the hell do I do now? When do I post? What do I post? And how do I post? Then this is the episode for you. Ellen now teaches business owners how to grow a rent roll and property management business using social media for lead generation. Her business is called Rent Roll Starter, and if want to learn her secrets to social media success then let’s dive in.
PROPERTY MANAGEMENT PAST
Like many of us Ellen kind of fell into property management and worked her way up through the ranks. ‘I started as a property management junior, when I was 18 years old, just after buying my first investment property. Then my career progressed and I ended up managing a team overseeing about 800 to 1000 management’s on our rent roll when I was 21,’ Ellen said. ‘By the time I was 28, I actually got to sort of follow my dream and start my own agency. I started a property management only company when I was 28. A few years ago, I sold that rent roll. I’ve been working in the training space ever since and I get to support rent roll owners to start and grow their own agencies from scratch now.’
SOCIAL MEDIA FOR LEAD GENERATION
The world of marketing has changed so dramatically, and especially since COVID. It seems like more and more agencies are moving online and moving into that digital space. Here’s why business owners and property managers need to be using social media as part of their lead generation strategy. Here’s Ellen’s thoughts on this: ‘so look, I think marketing concepts in themselves are fairly timeless. It’s just about the platform or the medium that we use now. So, I think the reason as real estate agents as property management companies that we have to go digital is because that’s where the people are right now. That that’s why social media has to be such an important part of our lead generation strategy because we need to move and go where the people are, and the people are on social media.’
GOING ALL IN WITH YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA FOR LEAD GENERATION
We all know we have to be there, but what do we actually do, say, post or promote once we are there. It can be confusing and overwhelming to say the least. But Ellen has some simple strategies to help give you that clarity. ‘My biggest piece of advice is just to be consistent. Have that as your first goal. That doesn’t mean that you have to post on every platform every day, it might mean that you just choose one social media platform that you’re going to work with, and you post two times a week, but you select those two days, and you stick with them every single week, so that you’re really reliable, and you’re consistent with showing up for your followers,’ she said. ‘It’s kind of like joining the gym, you don’t join the gym and then spend eight hours on a Saturday at the gym hoping that that will achieve your fitness goals. You join the gym and you show up for 45 minutes, three times a week for the next 12 months. So, you just need to take a really consistent approach with your social media.’
THE SECRET FORMULA FOR LEAD GENERATION
Consistency builds that all important trust that we’re trying to generate with people, people can trust you, then they want to take that step further and actually connect with you or do business with you. I can personally attest to the value of getting consistent posting every day. It’s grown my following over the past two years since I started this business immensely. But when it comes to actually posting things as well, Ellen’s got a little bit of a secret sauce or a formula that she recommends. ‘So I’ve come up with a formula that I called the HEC formula. Hook, engage and call to action. If you follow this formula on all of your social posts, you are going to get the maximum engagement you possibly can on that post, and the maximum lead generation potential, so I’ll step you through it quickly,’ Ellen shared. ‘So the first step is to hook. That means the first line of your text on any social post needs to be interesting enough that you will hook the reader in so they’ll read the rest of your post. You would know on Facebook or Instagram pretty much any social platform, your followers can’t actually see your entire written caption, they have to actually click the see more or the read more buttons in order to read the rest.’
Ellen also added: ‘so, your first line in that caption has to be so juicy and so interesting that they will actually click the read more button. So that first line is kind of the most important part of your post. And that’s going to hook them in. The second part of the post is the Engage part of your posts. This is the body of whatever you’re writing. It might be sharing a case study, it might be sharing a testimonial, it might be sharing something behind the scenes, it might be sharing how we do things here in the office, it might just be sharing that it’s somebody’s birthday in the office. So, that’s the body of your caption, but it’s got to be engaging enough that they keep on reading so that they get to the final part of the post, which is the letter C, the call to action. The call to action is usually just one single line at the end of your post asking your followers to take some action. Now it might be if you’re on Facebook or LinkedIn, it might be to click a link to go and read a full article on your website. It might be to double tap on Instagram so that they like your post, it might be asking them to send you a DM, it might be asking them to make a comment,’ she said. ‘The key is to ask them to do something if they’ve if they’ve read the hook, and they’ve opened the post to read the Engage part of the formula. Then you want to ask your followers to do something at the end. Sometimes it means filling in a form so that they become a lead in your database. Other times it’s just double tap this post to like it.’
IT’S ALL ABOUT THE ENGAGEMENT
What else can we do to get our social media post doing its bit to help us generate leads, I mean, it’s one thing to have it consistent and looking all pretty and having that formula in there. But is that going to be enough to secure us that all important lead or connection with somebody with our audience or a client potential client? Here’s what Ellen said: ‘look it’s not the only thing that you should be doing. Currently, we should be quite proactive with our engagement, I think one of the things that we all complain about the most is that our posts don’t get enough engagement. So, if you can be proactive with replying to comments, or going and reacting on other people’s stories, or greeting new followers with a personalised message, this is a great way to actually be proactive with your engagement, and then teaching your followers that it’s okay to engage with you. People aren’t going to become a lead in your database, they’re not going to hand over their email address or their phone number to you, they’re certainly not going to invite you to come and do an appraisal of their investment property, unless they feel some sort of connection with you. So being proactive with your engagement strategy is a really great way of allowing people to get to know you.’
Ellen also added: ‘reply to the comments people leave, reply to reactions on your stories, go and react on other people’s stories, send DMS directly on Instagram and on LinkedIn, because they’re great ways to build that connection, build that relationship, and ultimately, turn those people into leads in your database that you’ll actually get to sit down with and talk to about your property management services.’
THE BEST SOCIAL MEDIA TOOLS FOR PROPERTY MANAGERS
There’s so many new tools, apps and software programs coming to the market, it can all be a bit confusing really. Ellen has really been one of the pioneers in this space, so she has tested and tried many on the shiny new products out there. Here’s some of her best marketing tips and tools for property managers and business owners. ‘I think we don’t do ourselves enough credit in property management. I think we’ve always been marketers, I think we’re just taking it online now. I think when you’re sitting in a living room with a landlord, doing a listing presentation, you are a marketer, we just, we just kind of don’t give ourselves credit for it. So, we’ve always been marketers, we’re just doing it online now. I think you’re right, that we are becoming online marketers, as rent roll owners, as agency principles as, BDMS. I’ve got a couple of tools that I’d love to share with you. I’ll give you the names of the tools. If you want, we can link them in the show notes,’ Ellen said.
‘So, one of my favourite tools is a website called “answerthepublic.com”. And it’s a website that can help you discover what people are searching for on a particular topic. So, you could type in property investing, or Sydney real estate, or property manager, and then you’ll get all of the different questions and search phrases that people are searching for, on that particular topic. It’s just a fabulous way to get kind of a bird’s eye view of what are the things that people are thinking about and wondering in relation to property investing.
The second one is “planable.io”. This is the social media scheduling software that I use at the moment. I have tried different platforms. That’s my favourite platform at the moment for scheduling social media in advance. If you’re only on Facebook and Instagram, I prefer using the Facebook creator studio or business suite. But if you are on multiple platforms other than Facebook and Instagram, I like planable.io.
- EAGLE SOFTWARE
Then my third favourite piece of software or a tool that I think is really important for running a business, in an online way, is a really good CRM. I really like Eagle software for our industry, that’s probably my favourite CRM. But regardless of what CRM you’re on, just making sure you’re using your CRM and using it well, will put you leaps and bounds ahead of your competition.
HOMEWORK FOR SOCIAL MEDIA LEAD GENERATION
I always like to give you one actionable thing to do today to take away and help you with your social media and lead generation. So, here’s what Ellen recommends: ‘if I was to encourage you to spend five minutes just doing something today, on your social media, it will be proactive engagement. Go to Instagram, or go to your Facebook account, and go and proactively engage with other accounts as your business profile. If you do nothing else, that’s the thing that will move the needle. That’s the thing that will build relationship, that’s the thing that will increase your followers. It’s the thing that will increase engagement. It’s ultimately the thing that will lead to relationships, which lead to leads.’
PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT FOR PROPERTY MANAGERS
Ellen’s favourite personal development tool: ‘THE FOUR HOUR WORK WEEK’.
‘So, there’s been one book that has probably transformed my business. I read it for the first time when I was about 18 months into growing my rent roll. It’s “The Four Hour Workweek” by Tim Ferriss. That totally shifted my business. Now, I have not ever wanted to create a business that only required four hours of working per week. But the concepts in this book really helped me question the way I was running my rent roll. I was able to shift to working four days a week, which was a huge thing for my business. Even though the four-hour workweek is actually getting kind of old, I think it was written in maybe 2007. Some of the concepts in the book might seem a little outdated compared to where we are now. But just the ideas and the way of thinking about your business. Just totally revolutionised the way I ran my rent roll. I still read it about once a year, just to keep me in check so that I’m not allowing my business to get out of control.’
So much valuable information there from Ellen right? I know I was scared to put myself out there on social media when I first started. I’m actually embarrassed to admit, but I was so self-conscious. What will I wear? What will I look like? How does my hair look? What will I say? Worse, I thought who wants to listen to what I’ve got to say. And to this day, two years later, I’m still not a huge fan of going live and doing videos full stop. But if the future of our industry and marketing is online, you’ve got to start somewhere. So why not today? And the sooner you start, the more confident you’ll be long term and the more competent you’ll be using it for your lead generation. Lead generation through social media will only continue to increase. So, like with any new technology, become an earlier adopter. Your business will thank you for long term.